Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I know you're jealous.
But the problem is, when the man called me on Monday to tell me we'd won, I suddenly realized that 1) Sloan will be out of town for the event, and, possibly more important, 2) Henry has no idea who Dora is.
So it has sort of been a blessing that Henry and I have been riding the poop soup express as of late.* We've been able to catch up on Dora. And he likes it. He shimmies his shoulders a lot when they sing. I'm taking this as a good sign.
But I have a few questions about Dora.
1. Why are you always alone with that monkey? Where are your parents? Shouldn't they be accompanying you to your cousin's quinceanara? Especially since you have to go over a bridge with known troll activity, through a rain forest, and since that vagrant "Swiper" has yet to be apprehended. That just seems like bad parenting. Should I call social services?
2. Just follow the friggin' path. I'm not Magellan, but why do you need a map when your destination is always at the end of a path. Sure, you got to go through the knock-knock door and then the catcher's pond, but seriously, they are all on the same road. Or hey, wait a minute, you say you are going to the tall mountain. Why don't you just look up and walk towards the tall mountain?
3. Seriously, what's up with "Swiper?" He has to be the worst thief ever--or maybe--he is just misunderstood. If all it takes is you shaking your finger and saying "Swiper, no swiping!" three times, perhaps he really isn't interested in taking your umbrella. Also, when Diego joins you, why don't you just stick his baby jaguar on Swiper. I'm pretty sure a jaguar could take out a fox any day.
4. Where did you get that backpack? Does it come in other colors or styles? I'd pay good money to have a purse that neatly arranged all of its contents at the simple command "purse." (I can see it now. Henry is waiting patiently in the grocery cart while I look for my keys. I say purse, and then poof! flying in a circle around my purse are all of its contents. Awesome!)
All this aside, we are stoked. And by we, I mean me. We've invited H's BFF Nathan and his mommy Rebecca to come along. And if the boys hate it, who cares? It was free. (I have, however, looked online to see how much these tix are worth. Who are these people who are paying $77 a ticket to go see Dora? )
*I have to admit, no matter how many times it means I have to change his diaper, I still find it hilarious that my son farts so loud. Seriously, it is like someone sitting on a woopie cushion. And every time he toots he poops. But he doesn't seem to mind. It doesn't stop him from playing with his trucks, talking on the phone, or breakin' it down to Dora. Oh, by the way, I'm totally feeling 100% better. And I'm 4 pounds lighter without having worked out since Saturday. SCORE!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I was afraid I might die. Afraid I might not.
And the worst part of nausea (and labor, for that matter) is that you have no idea how long it will last. And rationally, you know you won't feel like that forever, it is just that it is hard to remember a time of wellness and even more difficult to imagine a future without pain and nausea. Somewhere in your mind you think that it can't last longer than 24 hours, right? But geesh, can I make it that long, you wonder.
Well, I made it. Sort of. The thought of food still makes me uneasy. Lunchtime is approaching, and as I begin to think about what I'm going to fix Henry, the thought of the smell of sliced turkey makes my stomach turn. He may be eating cheerios and bananas again for lunch.
And my entire body is sore. My throat. My neck. My back. My ribs. My thighs. I'm going to try to think of my body as doing some sort of involuntary cleanse. Remember when Bette Midler got that parasite and lost a bunch of weight? Maybe I've got a parasite?! One can only dare to dream...
Saturday, January 24, 2009
This is why I didn't stop Henry from eating the dirt. And chewing the rocks.
But I should have.
He has been puking and pooping all afternoon. Awesome.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
For starters, holy cow, Aretha. Your hat kicked so much ass I can't even begin to say how much I loved it. Where did you get it? I've never seen a store that carried bedazzled bow berets. And do you think I could pull it off? Could we please make wearing hats to church come back in style? Please. Please. I mean that thing was just begging for Prince to write a song about it. You wanted respect, and lady, you have won mine.
I've also imagined some behind the scenes conversations between Michelle and Barack. The first one goes like this...
President Obama: Dang, it's gonna be cold.
First Lady: Don't you even dare to complain about the cold. You get to wear long pants. Laura and I are stuck with bare legs in uncomfortable shoes.
P.O.: You get to wear pantyhose.
F.L.: You get to wear Long Johns.
P.O. Maybe if you thought about a coat that actually closed rather than just tying with a ribbon.
F.L.: Barack, don't test a woman in hose. At least the kids get to wear gloves.
And then the conversation they had over and over while twirling to Etta James...
FL: You've got to twirl me.
PO: Are you serious? I've twirled you at 3 of these things already. Can't we come up with a new move?
FL: They don't want to see you. They want to see the dress.
PO: You mean that big ass dress I keep stepping on?
FL: It flows.
PO: It's too long.
FL: I am able to hide my Secret Service Agent under it.
PO: How practical.
I mean seriously. She looked beautiful, but I've got to say I half expected her to lift her dress and all of Mother Ginger's children to come out and start dancing the Nutcracker. That would have been some ball!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
It started off with me getting out of the shower expecting to have to go wrangle Henry while wearing my towel. But as I walked to Henry's room, I could hear from downstairs Sloan talking to Henry about making eggs for breakfast. So I got to blow dry my hair, put on my face, and get ready for Bible Study without having to play goalie in the bathroom door.
Then, and this is where it really gets good, as Henry and I were driving to Bible Study, we got to take advantage of all the wondrous beauty that is XM radio. Sloan's car died, as in the oil drained out of his Passat while in the backwoods of North Carolina killing his engine. And to replace the engine would be more than our dear Penny is worth. So she's just waiting to be sold for parts at a mechanic in Fayetville. We literally are selling our car on Craigslist and having to buy a new (at least new for us) car for Sloan. Not so much what we'd intended on using our savings for (have I mentioned lately that I want a baby?). But I digress...
So I'm borrowing my sister's extra car. (Yes, she has 7 kids and an extra car. But remember, I have a nephew who gets his license in 2 months so it will not be "extra" for long.) And this car, an old BMW wagon, has XM radio. At first, I did not think I would like XM. I'm addicted to talk radio and getting the weather and traffic every 10 minutes. But then I met XM. And he has shown me his love.
Mainly I listen to the 60s on 6. But there are also the 70s on 7, and the 80s on 8. The simplicity of the stations moves me. And there is a little light show on the radio that keeps time with the music. This, however, is a bit hazardous as I've been known to watch it while I'm supposed to be driving. But again, I digress. As Henry and I are pulling onto 288, I decided not to listen to the Bee Gees on 7 and tried the 80s on 8. BINGO!!!
I heard a familiar drum beat and saw the flashing word "Toto" scroll across the XM display. Has there ever been anything more glorious to see on a cold and dreary winter day? I set out to introduce Henry to quite possibly one of the greatest songs ever written. Ever. Toto's "Africa." And by the time we were crossing the James, I was singing at the top of my lungs, playing the steering wheel as a drum, and in the rear view mirror, I got to watch as Henry shimmied his shoulders and played his thighs as drums. That's right people, we were rockin' out.
I knew it was going to be a great day. Hearing Toto in the morning changes you.
And when we got home, as I was trying to coax Henry into eating creamed Spinach, we had the Inauguration on. And suddenly I was in tears. Not because Pres. Obama's speech moved me (although it did), not because I heard Toto, and not even because I was so filled with pride. It suddenly hit me that God did this huge thing. He changed the hate-filled hearts of an entire people. And by this change, this election of a black man, He is giving hope to many. And hope can be a dangerous thing. Hope makes us work harder. Hope makes us dream bigger. Hope makes us yearn.
My prayer, however, is that this hope will not be misplaced. Pres. Obama is just a man. He is finite. And whatever your political beliefs may be, if you place all that hope in just a man, you will be disappointed. But what proof we have that God is at work! What proof we have that not only do people change, but peoples change.
So I will continue to shimmy my shoulders and hum Toto. And place my hope in Him.
"Praise be to the name of God for ever and ever; wisdom and power are his. He changes times and seasons; he sets up kings and deposes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Henry has entered toddler-dom. As we slowly approach his second birthday, I will not be so bold as to say he's entered "the terrible twos" (because terrible isn't the right word) it is just that Henry and I are spending a lot of time dealing with wrong and right. And neither of us like it very much. The only perk to causing my son to scream and cry a lot is that it is me he wants to comfort him, and so there are lots of cuddles that follow our-- shall we say-- "boundary lessons."
On the one hand, I'm torn because I'm not quite sure how much of what I'm telling him he actually understands. But then I see how he now knows to fold his hands when we pray before meals, to lift his legs when I'm changing his diaper, to kiss me and then reach for his crib whenever I say, "Night Night, Henry, to "talk" on the phone, and that somehow, he knows where every stinkin' light switch and electrical outlet in our home is. What this tells me is that at some point, me saying "Night Night," kissing him, and then putting him in his crib meant nothing, but that my doing it every night over a period of time taught him that these things go together.
And it is very difficult. Because he does not like being told no. Or having his sippy cup taken away (because he's thrown it at me). Or having to leave the gym (and that one is especially difficult because the people are staring at you like, "Geesh, maybe you oughtta let the kid play a little while longer. And why can't you control your child?!") And sometimes I have to give in, like when we're in a restaurant and I want to keep the table across from me from calling social services because I'm not giving my son his milk. But at home, I have to stand firm. And it is difficult stuff, this molding of people.
For starters, I do not want him to think the world revolves around him, so no, he can't play any longer. I'm his authority figure, so my plan is the one we work around. Will I let him put away a few toys? Sure, but no, we're not staying another 5 minutes. And also, even if he does not want to go home, he can't just go limp as I take his hand, forcing me to either drag his limp body across the Kidz Zone or pick him up at which point he will arch his back, scream and slap my shoulder. Sure, you can chalk some of this up to immaturity and his age, but mostly, he's just being selfish. And unfortunately, you don't outgrow selfishness. So as his Mom, I need to train him to be accommodating. Particularly accommodating to his superiors.
I just finished reading a book called "Shepherding a Child's Heart" which deals with this a lot. Coming from a Biblical perspective, it basically says it is not enough to want kids who do the right thing. Our desire should be that our kids want the right things. That our actions come from our heart, and so shouldn't we be after our kids hearts more than their actions? So we have to get to their motivations. It also operates under the premise that a supple heart is a blessed heart, so if we, as parents, allow our kids to have brittle hearts, we deny them blessing. So I've got to try to get at this little bugger's rebellious, impatient, selfish heart. And I've got to do it lovingly, consistently, gently, and yet, firmly.
All the while, not letting my rebellious, impatient, selfish heart get in the way. I know what it's like to struggle with a hard heart. It gets in the way with so much, so if I can smooth the way for Henry to have a soft heart. I'll do it.
Today was hard. I'm pretty sure I upended no less than 14 minor rebellions. But I'm still a bit of a softie. Tonight, seeing as it is around 14 degrees outside and Sloan is out of town, the little rebel is sleeping with me. So I had to go buy some of those bed railing things. And because he pointed to them and clapped, we are now the proud owner of yet another Thomas train, Duncan.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
The two women next to me were discussing where their children were going to preschool next year and how they were concerned that their kids might not get in because they had waited so long to do it.
It's friggin' January. And apparently, I'm already behind on my kids' education because I don't even know where the preschools are around here. We'd thought about sending Henry to the one at our church next year, but it's across the Rivah and 25 minutes away. So if I were, say pregnant, and confined to our house, we'd need a school that is close by.
I thought that maybe we wouldn't put Henry in preschool next year, but if, like I said, I'm hoping to be great with child, two mornings a week sans the Pickle could be just what the doctor ordered.
And just so you know, when you google preschools in Midlothian, you also get a bunch of Day Care Centers. I also want it to be a good school. With developmentally appropriate curriculum that lets him learn through play. I want him to learn about Jesus, and beyond him learning the words to Kum Ba Ya. And I also would like it if it cost less than $175 a month. I mean, essentially, we're talking about 8 three hour days a month, people. And why does it cost around $80 just to register my kid? There can't be THAT much preschool administrative stuff. Who does your books? A government worker?
His BFF, Nathan, has a 20 month old cousin, named Riley. And sometimes Riley is at Nathan's when Henry and I babysit. Riley is also in his class on Tuesday mornings during Bible Study. And apparently, Riley's mom now also goes to our gym.
Last night, when I went to pick up Henry from the Kidz Zone at the gym, I saw Turner (Riley's 4 year old big brother.) I said, "Hey Turner, do you remember me?" "Yeah," he said, "You're Phillips. Henry's mom." (Nathan seems to think we're on a basketball team, as he calls me Phillips rather than Mrs. Phillips. I think the name has spread.)
I looked over in the corner of the Kidz Zone, and there were Riley and Henry playing with the kitchen. The workers at Kidz Zone said that as soon as Riley got there, she started screaming, "Hen-he! Hen-he!" and had been by his side the whole time. So I went in the pick Henry up, and told him to say goodbye to Riley. And then Riley came up to Henry, hugged him tight, saying, "Bye, Bye, Hen-he!" And Henry, while he didn't full on hug her, dropped his truck and patted her on the back. It was a very manly "I'm gonna hug you but slap you at the same time" sort of hug.
It might have been the cutest thing I've ever seen. Until this morning when he pulled out my chair for me to sit next to him at breakfast. And then when I said, "Time to pray," he quickly folded his hands and shut his eyes.
I think I'm in love...
Friday, January 9, 2009
Scripture tells us that faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. And God has given me a tiny embryo of hope that is slowly developing into greater faith. Faith that yes, He is in control of me and my family. And that He has great plans for The Phillips clan here in Midlothian, Virginia. Plans that may include tears, but are mostly characterized by joy and because of who we are, laughter.
He is also given me the assurance that I'm not entirely crazy, or even hopeless, by being fearful. As I see it, it is entirely rational to be fearful of things that are painful. It's a sign of being able to see reality as it is and also one of maturity. I mean, who likes pain? But I'm wavering on the edge of not being fearful of the unknown.
I will not say that I am not scared of what God's plans are. I'd be foolish not to be. Maybe Henry will be an only child. Maybe we will grieve our way through another miscarriage. Maybe at this moment, somewhere in the world, some other Mommy is carrying her own little embryo that God is planning to place in our family. Who knows? My own tiny seed of faith tells me that whatever His plans for me are, He will prepare me for them. That I'm not going to have to prepare myself and that any attempts to will only get in the way.
Imagining that I could change my heart for His plans seems foolish. Hasn't He shown me in the past that His plans include changing me in the process? Isn't this part of what I'm hoping for?
So my hope will not rest in getting pregnant or having a baby. My hope will rest in God. That He will keep His promises to us. That He will be who He says He is--loving, merciful, powerful. God.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Down the middle--4 slices for each of us.
Now granted, it was a thin crust California Pizza Kitchen White Pizza. A pizza that, if forced to, I could eat entirely on my own. A pizza that I have, in the past, eaten entirely on my own without having to be forced. But today, I was being disciplined and hoping to get 2 lunches for Henry out of it. No deal. Oh well, at least it had spinach on it. He'll be strong to the finish.
I think Henry is taking this "Feed a cold" thing seriously.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
2. Henry is the third funniest person on the planet. (After myself and his father, of course.) His love for hats has extended to a love for all things on his head--boxes, headbands, belts. And no, his feet aren't THAT big. But with his Daddy wearing a size 13 shoe, I shouldn't be surprised.
3. But he's also an evil genius. He could've been charged with assault today. He tried to strangle the Pediatrician today with her own stethoscope. (He has an ear infection and chest cold.) For the chest cold, the Dr. suggested I hold up his face to the humidifier, cupping it so he breathes in the mist. I pondered this suggestion, trying to picture this in my mind, and asked, "Ummm, how long am I supposed to do this?" "For as long as he'll let you." As if on cue, Henry started laughing. And it was an evil laugh. Also, while signing it at the doctor's office, he hung up on a patient. He was sitting up on the ledge between my arms as I was getting out my copay, and he leaned over and pressed the hang up button on the nurse's phone. Thankfully, the nurse laughed. This would also explain why someone told me they tried calling me at my parents' house over Christmas only to have the phone answered, someone chirp "Hi" which was followed by some heavy breathing then, "Bye!" and click.
3. If you're wondering, 4 seconds is as long as he'll let me hold his face to the humidifier before he tries to knock it over. Then another 5 seconds before he figures out to shut the humidifier off.
But when I rub the Vick's vapo rub on his chest, he closed his eyes and said, "Mmmmm. Yeah. Yeah." Kinda creepy.
But this year's regular time is anything but regular for the Phillips family. It is an advent of sorts for us as well. No, no, I'm not pregnant. Just having the itch to be. And I hate being pregnant. Not even mentioning the whole bed rest in the hospital ordeal, I was not a happy pregnant camper. (Or maybe I was as about as happy as a camper who is pregnant could be.)
But this time around, the advent is different because I know more about the trials of getting pregnant, the heartbreak of not being pregnant, of loss, of "spotting," and the efforts it takes to keep me pregnant. So this itch to have another baby is mixed with a lot of fear. And I hate being fearful. I'm pretty sure it is the opposite of being faithful. But if I'm going to be honest, I am afraid.
Afraid of the hurt that will inevitably be mine should I not get pregnant. Afraid that God's plan for our family is for Henry to be an only child. Afraid that what God really has for us is adoption. Afraid of the monetary cutbacks that will need to be made to make a way for me to get pregnant or even to adopt (which is MORE expensive than IVF!) Afraid that we will get pregnant and that the surgery to keep me pregnant will hurt. Afraid that I'll get pregnant with twins and I'll end up in the hospital again. Afraid that I won't be able to hold on 34 weeks and a day and our child will be born too early and then afraid that I won't be able to Mommy adequately to a child with all the needs a preemie can have for a lifetime. Afraid that in the midst of all this pain and fear I'll believe the lie that I've done something to deserve all this and that it's just further proof that God isn't who He says He is and is, in fact, out to get me.
I had an ultrasound yesterday to find out how my uterus is doing. It was some weird type of ultrasound, but it appears that my girl parts are all in working order and so I won't need to have surgery before trying to get pregnant like I did last time. So that is a blessing. But I was sort of hoping to need surgery. Which is weird because it would mean finding childcare for Henry and recoup time and all, but on some level, it would be something I could do that would be a successful step towards getting pregnant. And to me, that beats waiting on the Lord any day. (Having surgery would also give me a 2 week "get out of going to the gym without guilt" pass, and that would be freakin' awesome!)
We also got a talking to by my wonderful OB/Gyn, Dr. Murray. I love Dr. Murray and I know she loves me, Sloan, and Henry. But she was very candid about the risks of multiples with IVF and the difficulties that presents with my incompetent cervix. She said that even with a stitch to keep me shut, twins would be difficult, but doable. But with triplets, she feared that my body wouldn't hold up and so she would be forced, as my doctor, to recommend things she knew we wouldn't agree to. She even confessed that she wouldn't want to make those ethical decisions, so that we should just put in 2 embryos, no matter what the fertility specialist says. When Henry was born, he was the result of 3 embryos being transferred. But I know she is right.
But this fear is strange. I have no doubts as to what God can do. I have no doubts as to His goodness to me and my family. I see it clearly every time I look at Henry and his snot covered face. And I'm even certain that my heart will make it through it. No matter what happens. That on the other side of things, I will be blessed by my adversities. That what seems treacherous will be for my good and are all part of a plan devised by my Father who loves me. I know and believe all these things. And yet, I still fear the hurt. I wish there was another way.
I wish I could really enter into regular time. Get pregnant the regular way. Stay pregnant the regular way.
But God is not content with me being regular, which I guess, is a compliment.
Friday, January 2, 2009
"He's a handful." Meaning: You have no control over your kid, do you? Response: No. No I do not. So it is a good thing he's just naturally sweet and relatively obedient.
"Wow. He's busy." Meaning: 1. Does he ever sit down? 2. What are you feeding that kid? Crack? 3. HOLY FREAKIN' COW THAT KID NEVER STOPS! (When said by your brother-in-law who has 7 kids, 4 of whom are boys.) Response: He is why God made gates. I'm just not sure what I'm going to do when he is able to climb over them (something he is currently tries to do.)
"We don't believe in TV." Meaning: 1. You're a bad parent. 2. My child will be smarter than yours. Response: I don't believe in TV, either. I believe in Jesus. And sometimes I like to bathe. Or cook a meal. Or go to the bathroom. And my child never, I repeat, never sits down unless Curious George is on and because he never sits down--he could sooooo kick your child's butt. So there."
"You didn't watch the ball drop? How could you not watch the ball drop?" Meaning: You're old. Response: You're right. I drank a half-bottle of Spumante, watched House, and then settled into bed with my book, New Moon. (I got the Twilight series for Christmas. Soooo shamefully addictive despite being horribly written.) I think I'm going to be a Jacob fan, no matter how hot Cedric Diggory, er, I mean Edward Cullen is.
Christmas Morning. The boy racked up. Big time. This is one of my favorite photos from the whole time for several reasons. 1. Him sitting still long enough to sit in my lap is a rarity. 2. Note the bow around his neck. He did this himself. 3. Most of his presents he couldn't have cared less about. We had to quarantine him to the family room to keep him from trying to get at the Piano or to watch himself in the mirror in the hallway. But this present (the Curious George movie) gave him pause. He opened it, giggled, hugged the video and then brought it to my lap. We looked at it front and back. He rubbed it. Pointed to George lovingly. And now, at home, he'll dig it out of the DVDs and bring it to me and sit in my lap. We've watched it twice this week and he loves it. Except he gets upset when George knocks over the dinosaur skeleton. On the tricycle Santa brought. Note that the only thing he enjoys on the trike is the bell. Santa knew it was a bit advanced for him, but Santa tells me that he got a really good deal on it. A really good deal.
The car and train mat that I painted. (It has a landscape for trains on the other side and is the exact dimensions of our coffee table.) Note that rather than playing with the trains, he is surfing on the box. This happened with most of the gifts. He enjoys playing with the trains now, although it took Sloan, me, a diagram, and 20 minutes to figure out how to put together the track together. Mainly he just likes the trains. Especially the dairy train his Aunt Pam gave him (it Moos). We are planning on taking out a 2nd mortgage as we've just realized how expensive all of those Thomas trains actually are. A toy he is actually excited about--his Iplay garage. We knew he'd love this as he played with it at his bud Jack's house. But to parents of young children, take note. When putting together a toy, do not do it in front of your child. Especially the sticker application part. Within 10 minutes of finishing putting this thing together, it looked years old as every sticker was half-ripped off and stuck somewhere on Henry. Oh well. His truck that he got from Gigi and Papa. He loves this thing and it is a hoot to watch him. He is very particular about making sure that the door is shut completely before he honks the horn and sets off and also that the door is shut when he gets out. He also loves that it came with a hard hat. He is very into hats these days. Today alone he wore his toboggan his great Aunt Phyllis knit him, his hard hat, the Frosty hat, and then for most of the afternoon he wore his Williamsburg Minuteman hat. Let me know if you find an old school Daniel Boone Coonskin hat. He'd love it. Despite all the new toys, Henry still enjoys the old one's at Gigi's house. (And yes, he is wearing a Santa suit.)
Henry discovers Bo-Town and Star Wars. The 26th we headed down to Charlotte to spend time with Sloan's family. Our nephew Bo (almost 7), has a designated corner of their family room that is named Bo-Town. Henry rarely left it. He was enthralled with the buckets of cars, legos, and of course, Bo's Millennium Falcon. At one point, Henry was actually sitting in the tub of legos, just pulling things up from beneath him and putting them together.
Henry torments his Gigi (2 1/2) by stealing her new toy and running away from her.I learned that I'm pretty awesome at Electronic Battle ship. Marshall and Violet played Bo and me and then later Violet and I played Bo and Sloan. Of course, it helps you win when your opponent is 6 and sometimes shoots in the same locations several times. But still, I feel pretty lucky to have discovered a new talent.
Just in case you were wondering--Henry has giant feet. He wears a size 9 now. That's the same size as his 5 year old cousin, Natalie. So he also got to trot around in her pink Sperrys as well. But seriously, how tall is this kid gonna be? And it is really hurting my ability to buy new shoes for me when I have to keep getting new ones for this guy every 8 weeks.